Retiring Enterprise High School teacher Mike Crawford can look back at a distinguished teaching and coaching career after 27 years of instructing students in the finer points of mathematics and athletics.
Raised in Halfway, Crawford’s father moved to Joseph just as Crawford was starting his college career at Oregon State University. Crawford returned to Joseph during his first summer off, and eventually met and married his wife, Tammy, who is from Joseph.
Crawford graduated from OSU in 1981 after a detour into education from computer science. Crawford said a phone call during his junior year of college from the father of his best man, who was an administrator at Arlington High School, changed his course of action. “He said, ‘Computer science and business education aren’t that far apart, and if you turn in the direction of business education, I’ll hire you as soon as you graduate,’ and that’s what I did. It was a life-changing deal,” Crawford said.
True to his word, the man hired Crawford, and he taught business education and coached multiple sports for five years.
The couple wanted to return to the Wallowa Valley, and in 1986, Tammy Crawford obtained a job at Enterprise Elementary School, while Mike Crawford began four years as a substitute teacher and football coach. He started coaching basketball in 1989 as well as becoming a driver education teacher for the education service district. Crawford started teaching full-time at EHS in 1993, and coaching golf in 1998.
In the recently concluded school year Crawford taught upper-level math, starting with geometry up to pre-calculus. He also taught a senior seminar class, which is essentially a college preparation class, along with his coaching duties.
Crawford felt fortunate to remain at the same school district for over 20 years. “Both of my boys graduated from this school,” he said. He said his 1998-2007 tenure as athletic director was a highlight of his career.
Crawford is also proud of his math teaching skills. “I’ve had a student who went to a military academy, and another one accepted to Stanford. When you’ve got kids who score very high on the SATs and are capable of taking collegiate mathematics, they’re learning something.”
Crawford’s years of coaching also included some major highlights. “I’ve had a state title in basketball, four state titles in golf and just a lot of state-level competitive teams in basketball and golf. I was also part of the coaching staff in football in the late ’80s and early ’90s when the program was really successful. I’ve been pretty fortunate my whole career, actually,” Crawford said.
Among the biggest changes Crawford saw in his years as an educator were the effects of technology. “I think technology has big-time changed kids in general, especially in communication. I always wanted my teams to be teams and communicate with each other. To be successful, you have to know people, and you can’t do that by texting and social media. It’s been a major challenge,” Crawford said.
A big change he witnessed in teaching was the evolution from common curriculum goals to common core standards. “We’re pretty reliant on test scores these days and I don’t know that’s better for education, but it’s where we are,” Crawford said.
Continuing as a substitute teacher and coaching both basketball and golf for EHS are in Crawford’s plans. “When I get my complete 30 years I’m going to move on into other things. I really like archery hunting and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time out in the woods,” Crawford said. He also works for the Full-Draw film tour, which puts on film festivals on the subject of archery hunting. The tour started with five cities and now encompasses 27 cities around the nation. Crawford attended 10 of the 27 shows last year and hopes to attend more this year.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Crawford’s son, Kyle, recently hired on at the Enterprise School District to teach sixth grade. “I’m stepping out, and he’s stepping in,” Mike Crawford said.